It’s survey time again on My Words for a Change. Back in 2015 I ran my first survey on adverts on translation blogs (TLDR: don’t have any adverts on your blogs!). The following year I ran one on revisions (thus combining two of my favourite subjects). I spared you all my intrusive questions in 2017 and last year I ran a survey on whether blogging is dead (TLDR: no, it isn’t yet, but it really depends on the blog).
This year I want to quizz you about qualifications. As you probably know if you’re a regular reader, lots of guest posters have written about their experiences of MAs and MScs in translation for this blog, and the vast majority of them have been positive. But taking out a year or two to study a degree at university, even if it’s a distance-learning course, isn’t an option for all of us.
A far easier and cheaper way of gaining a qualification is to sit the ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting) exam and become an MITI (which also means you can be listed on the website). The real plus about the ITI exam is that you can take it using your own computer at home in real working conditions. Gaining ATA certification, on the other hand, is not as simple as you have to attend an exam centre and in most cases you will have to handwrite the papers. Although some computerised exams are now being offered, the conditions are still not the same as you would enjoy working in your office.
Besides the expense of studying for an MA or MSc, taking the DipTrans is one of the more expensive qualification routes, especially as most candidates would probably benefit from some practice input marked by professionals before sitting the exam. As with the ATA exam, the use of TMs and CATs is prohibited and most papers are handwritten. Candidates also attend the centres laden down with dictionaries.
I’ve often been asked which of the above four qualifications is better and which will result in more and/or better-paid work. Personally, I became an MITI in 2015 for a number of reasons. It was affordable and easy to sit the exam over a weekend. I wanted to appear on the website and I also wanted the benefits of membership. But my circumstances are certainly not the same as everyone else’s. If you’d like to help answer this question, please take part in the translation qualifications survey.
Many thanks in advance for your input.